Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cut 'n' mix

A friend is a lecturer in thingamybob at the University of Doodad. He's finding himself increasingly struggling with the modern political agenda which has it that universities aren't places where people go to learn things, they're shops which sell degrees to customers. If a customer doesn't obtain a degree it isn't because they haven't warranted it, it's because the course hasn't been taught properly for them to get it.

"I know I've been irritated by the 'customer' thing but I was still doing OK. I could still do the lectures and the tutorials and treat the students as if they were there to try and learn something, but this year's different. It's the first year I've felt that a lot of my students are there because they've 'got' to be there, just like at school."

I can well imagine this. I'm still bemused by the government's targets on higher education because they seem to be entirely focussed on throughput -- 50% of young people shall have gone to university -- than outcomes -- what will they get from the experience besides a huge student loan debt?

"Even the quality of plagiarism's gone downhill. I think this is the first intake of the generation that's never done anything but copy and paste their homework from the internet. I had one essay begin:

"As I have stated earlier in this chapter..."

"And another had as the first footnote:

"1: Ibid."

"He couldn't see why I didn't believe it was his own original work."

It doesn't fill one with confidence.


scarlet-blue said...

Right... won't be long... I'm off to find a vaguely relevant comment that I can copy and paste here...

This is such hard work...

Red Squirrel said...

I actually feel a little bit sorry for the students as they're bullied by the government to rack up £20k in debt based on the comparative earnings of degree vs non-degree educated people.

Of course those stats were based on when only 30% of people went to university, so average wages drop and they spend 2-3 years longer paying off their debt.

Frankly, from where I live, it serves the spoilt, badly-parking, noisy bastards right :)

Gadjo Dilo said...

"Education, education, education" - I cut and pasted that from somewhere but I'm not telling you where.

Mrs Pouncer said...

Sorry, Kev, bottle of Old Ma Moosejaw's Drinking-Type Wine down, but I have had 4 children pass through higher education hemhem, and two still at home waiting to be old enough, and I have to say that although they racked up spinechilling debts, they went on to find gainful employment as a direct result of their (largely vocational) degrees, although my younger daughter did have to work for Channel 4 for two years, but c'est la vie. And I think this is the trick: do something vocational, don't fuck about with Chemistry or Mediaeval Botany. Do European Hosiery or Pokerwork or Advanced Sausage. You know it makes sense. Maroon is musing on this very subject at his at the moment. It is very enlightening, although rather boastful. Inky has something to say on the subject, too. Although I forget what. Sorry, and it's only Wednesday. Love C xx